UPDATE: Hamilton County Cold Case Unit asking for public's help in 1981 serial murder case
Samuel Little, a serial killer currently serving time in Texas, told investigators in December he killed the woman after meeting her at a nightclub on 9th Street in Chattanooga.
UPDATE: One of the nation's most prolific serial killers admits to investigators he killed a woman in the Tennessee Valley.
But investigators need help finding out who she is.
Investigators used facial reconstruction based on the woman's skull.
A forensic artist placed tissue markers at specific points on the skull so that once clay was added, the result was a reconstruction that looks as close to the victim as possible.
Investigators hope someone recognizes the model so they can identify her.
"We've done the hard part, we've found out who killed her. Now we have to found out where she belongs and who she belongs to," Assistant Special Agent Joe Montgomery with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said.
This is Jane Doe.
Investigators hope this sketch and rendering from a forensic artist will help them figure out her real name.
The body of the African American woman, believed to be in her 20's, was found in a wooded area off of I-24 in Dade County, Georgia 38 years ago.
"You have very few records that you go on, you have very little evidence, you have no idea who she is so you can't go back and backtrack her steps so it makes it very hard," Montgomery added.
Samuel Little, a serial killer currently serving time in Texas, told investigators in December he killed the woman after meeting her at a nightclub on 9th Street in Chattanooga. That area is now known as Martin Luther King Boulevard.
Mike Mathis, who oversees Hamilton County's Cold Case Unit said he believes the 78 year old is confessing for the right reasons.
"He wants these victims identified or found. You can take from that what it is. He was not boasting about what he had done," he added.
Hamilton County District Attorney Neal Pinkston said Little is known for remembering vivid details of every case. He's even drawn sketches of the faces of some of his victims.
Pinkston said Little doesn't remember much about this case because he was only with the woman for about an hour, but said Little does know details that only the killer would know.
"It's random on how long he knew them and how long he stayed with them. Apparently sometimes he decided to kill rather quickly and then other times it was drawn out over a longer period of time," he added.
The main goal is to identify the woman so investigators can give her family closure.
If you have any information that can help investigators in this case, contact the Hamilton County Cold Case Unit Tip Line at 423-209-7470 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hamilton County Cold Case Unit is asking for the public's help in identifying a 1981 murder victim using facial reconstruction.
Serial killer Samuel Little confessed to killing the woman and dumping her naked body in a heavily wooded area of northwest Dade County, GA.
A search of Chattanooga and Hamilton County records did not show either a missing person case or an unsolved homicide from that time period matching the description given by Little.
Because the case has overlapping jurisdictions, this has become a joint investigation with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Hamilton County DA’s Cold Case Unit.
Investigators believe the victim was from the Chattanooga area, northwest Georgia or northeast Alabama.
Before Little’s confession, the GBI had already begun efforts to identify the victim.
A special forensic team created a facial reconstruction based on the woman’s skull. This involved placing tissue markers at specific points on the skull so that once clay is added the result is a reconstruction that looks as close to the victim as possible.
PREVIOUS STORY: One of the three murders a suspected serial killer may be responsible for in Tennessee happened in the Tennessee Valley.
The Dade County Sheriff's Office held a press conference Thursday about a 1980s murder that could be connected to suspected serial killer Samuel Little.
Remains of a black woman between the ages of 25-30 were found in Dade County in 1981, according to the FBI. The sheriff's office said a skull was found on I-24. "The FBI released this information but they have not contacted the GBI or myself in conjunction with this case. We are still waiting to hear from the FBI on what information what evidence do they have besides the confession," said Dade County Sheriff Ray Cross.
The sheriff made it clear that this is not the same murder as the Jane Doe case they had in Rising Fawn from a murder in 1988. He said Little did not commit that murder.
Anyone who thinks they might possibly know the Jane Doe found in 1981 is asked to call the Dade County Sheriff's Office at 706-657-3233.
PREVIOUS STORY: Prosecutors say that 78-year-old Samuel Little, serving three life sentences for strangling three women in the Los Angeles-area in the late 1980s, may be responsible for as many as 90 deaths around the country.
Three of those deaths are in Tennessee, and one is from the Tennessee Valley, according to the FBI.
Little is currently in a Texas prison. He was arrested at a Kentucky homeless shelter in September 2012 and extradited to California, where he was wanted on a narcotics charge.
He has allegedly confessed to dozens of murders, which if true would make him one of the deadliest serial killers in U.S. history.
“The biggest lesson in this case is the power of information sharing. These connections all started in our database of violent crime.”
While in custody, Los Angeles Police Department detectives obtained a DNA match to Little on the victims in three unsolved homicides from 1987 and 1989. He was charged with three counts of murder and convicted.
The three Tennessee cases are:
- Black female between 25-30 years old killed in 1980 or 1981. Met the victim in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Killed in Dade County, GA.
- Black female, age 25, killed in 1975. Picked up in Knoxville, Tennessee. Unmatched Confession.
- Black female between 28-29 years old killed in 1984. Victim picked up in Memphis, Tennessee. Killed in West Memphis, Arkansas
Little was sentenced in 2014 to three consecutive life sentences with no possibility of parole.
The FBI says that Little’s method of killing didn’t always leave obvious signs that the death was a homicide.
The former competitive boxer usually stunned or knocked out his victims with powerful punches and then strangled them.
With no stab marks or bullet wounds, many of these deaths were not classified as homicides but attributed to drug overdoses, accidents, or natural causes.
The FBI says that Little is in poor health and will likely stay in prison in Texas until his death. Their goal now is to identify his victims and provide closure and justice in unsolved cases.
For more information or to report potential case links to Samuel Little, contact the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program (ViCAP) at 800-634-4097.